Day By Day

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Touring Tunisia -- Part Two

A view of downtown Tunis. You can't make it out in this photo, but that is the Mediterranean in the distance. We'll see it up close later.

On our first full day in Tunisia we got up early and set out for our first destination -- the world-famous Bardo Museum, reputed to possess the best collection of Roman mosaics to be found anywhere.

On our way to the museum we stopped by another remnant of the Roman world -- an aqueduct that runs right through the town. In ancient times it brought water into the city. Today electric cables running along the top carry current to the downtown. I guess that would make it an "electriduct".

Another passing feature. Throughout the Islamic world doors are frequently a wonder to behold. Many of them are magnificent pieces of art. This one, for instance.

At last we arrived at the Bardo. The building was not in very good shape, and much of the collection was inaccessible due to ongoing construction, but what was open to the public was simply spectacular. There are hundreds of high-quality mosaics to be seen and [as you can see] touched.

Take a good look at this flooring. I don't know about you, but to me that is impressive.

And there is a terrific collection of Roman statuary on display at the Bardo. Check out, for instance, this head of Jupiter, King of the Gods.

And lest we forget the Islamic contribution. Here's a picture of the roof over Jupiter's head.

And of course, before it was a Roman city, Tunis was Carthage so the Bardo is also home to a large collection of Punic art. Here's a small sample.

Saving the best for last. Here is the museum's prize piece -- a third-century AD mosaic depicting Virgil flanked by two muses [Clio and Melpomene]. It sits in a room by itself separate from the rest of the exhibits, and what a room! Here's the roof over Virgil's head.

I could have spent days at the Bardo, but we were on a tour, so it was back to the bus and off to lunch and other experiences awaiting us.

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